Each year in February, organizations across North America participate in Burn Awareness & Prevention week to raise awareness about the most common household dangers that can cause serious burn injuries. National associations, hospitals, and local fire and rescue teams all share helpful suggestions and ideas to help spread the word, and we’ve compiled list of some of the best tips we’ve found to keep you and your family safe:
Electrical Safety Tips
Best Practices for Household Electrical Safety:
- • Electrical appliances and water don’t mix – please be careful!
- • Do not over-plug! Outlets have two plugs for a reason!
- • If your electrical items show signs of wear and tear, like frayed wires, it’s time to replace them.
- • Clean the dryer lint trap with EVERY SINGLE LOAD of laundry. This is an all-too-common source of house fires.
- • Avoid using extension cords if you can help it, but if necessary, it’s better to use certified surge protectors and power strips.
- • Keep clothes, curtains, and other flammable items away from heat sources.
- • Use the correct wattage of light bulbs in your lamps and fixtures.
Electrical Safety in Homes with Young Children:
- • Unplug electrical devices when not in use, and use plastic safety covers on exposed outlets.
- • Wrap up any loose cords and keep them out of children’s reach.
- • Toys that require a plug aren’t the best idea – try to avoid them if you can!
- • Teach your children to never touch electrical outlets or play with electrical cords.
Know when it’s time to call an electrician!
- • If you have recurring instances of blown fuses or tripping circuit breakers, it’s time to have a qualified electrician look things over.
- • If you experience a tingling feeling when touching an electrical tool or appliance, turn it off and un-plug it.
- • If outlets or switches feel warm to the touch, keep them turned off until you have them thoroughly evaluated by a professional.
- • If there is a burning or rubber-like smell coming from an appliance, turn it off, and un-plug it right away.
- • Flickering lights are a tell tale sign that your home is experiencing a serious electrical problem.
- • If wall outlets are cracked or broken, or sparks are coming from an outlet, unplug your device and call for help immediately!
Fire Safety Tips
Prevention is the best strategy!
- • Most house fires start in the kitchen, so be sure to always follow safe cooking practices!
- • Never leave food that is cooking unattended, and supervise children’s use of the stove, oven or microwave.
- • Don’t carry or hold a child while cooking on the stove.
- • Install and maintain smoke alarms on every floor of the home and near every bedroom.
- • Keep matches and lighters locked up and away from children.
- • Do not overload electrical circuits or extension cords.
- • Do not place electrical cords or wires under rugs, over nails or in high traffic areas.
- • Use fireplace screens and have the chimney cleaned annually.
Always be prepared!
In two minutes, a household fire can become a life-threatening situation. In less than five minutes a residence can be completely destroyed. It’s important to have a solid plan you can rely on to protect yourself and your family in the event of an emergency.
- • Have an escape plan, and practice it with your kids. Learn two ways out of every room, and agree on a meeting place outside the building.
- • If you live in an apartment building, know the best route to the stairwell and emergency exits.
If you are in a room with a closed door when fire occurs, there are extra precautions:
- • If you see smoke under a door, find another exit!
- • If not, carefully check the door handle. If it is hot, do not open the door.
- • If you can open the door, and there is no smoke or heat, proceed quickly to your exit.
- • Stay low to the ground as you exit
If you can’t get out of a burning house right away, open (or break) a window and call for help. Make sure rescuers can find you easily – never hide in a closet or under a bed.
For more information, take a look at Safekids.org. They have some additional links to burn safety resources that might just save your life!